Please allow me to try to clarify how the City of Ozark is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandate from Gov. Hutchison regarding facemasks/coverings. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this issue. Belittling each other on social media doesn’t accomplish much in the way of solving the issue.
I was hopeful that most of our citizens could manage to follow guidelines presented by the health department. However; many have decided it’s more of a violation of their personal rights rather than having respect for the request to do what can be done to help stop the spread of a virus that has shown to be fatal to so many people. Whether these people are connected to you or not, it has affected so many families across the world, our country, our state and local communities.
With that being said, I do still believe that wearing the masks may help, if not the spread, at least slow the spread of this virus. As a city, we support the idea that anything that can be done to try to get back to what will be as normal of a life as possible, we need to do. So, yes, please wear your facemasks/coverings where you are asked to wear them. Businesses still have the right to refuse services to anyone who doesn’t adhere to their requirements for their business.
Our police department cannot respond to calls about people not wearing masks. The mandate says the only thing that can be done is ask the person to please put on a facemask/covering. That is for the first offense. If they are called again, about the same person, the mandate does allow them to issue a ticket. However, the ticket, whether the first offense or fifth offense, will not be enforceable in court as the mandate only applies when social distancing is not “possible”.
I believe the mandate has been issued to show people the importance of trying to do whatever can be done to slow the spread of this virus.
All of us want this pandemic to come to an end. Whether it is your choice to wear a mask or not, please respect those who do not make the same choice. If you choose to not wear a mask, please keep your distance from those persons you encounter whether they are wearing a mask or not. Please do not make an issue in a business to the point the police are called. At that point you can be issued a citation for trespassing and this can be enforced in court.
Please keep praying for this event in our history to come to an end. We will get through this and be stronger for it, but first we must get through it TOGETHER!
-Roxie Hall, Mayor of Ozark